I wish I could tell you, but I don’t even know.

One morning I was changing diapers and pulling weeds. The next morning I was on The Today Show. Literally the next morning. A fews after that I was on The Rachael Ray show.  I wrote an article about being happy, and fat. I told the story of how being thin didn’t solve my problems. I told the story of an obsession to meet an ideal that was impossible to attain and sustain. It seems like it resonated with a few people.

 

It all started at ravishly and from there went to the Huff post front page, then the Yahoo front page.

 

After the Huffington Post appearance, and the  Chicago Tribune, and let’s not forget yahoo.com, this happened: The Daily Mail. And then things got weird.

An excerpt from my recent article on Ravishly.com:

 

“I’m going to just stop here and tell you the next week and a half look pretty much exactly like those first few days. Only, add in a bunch of print stuff, and substitute any one of 4 other shows in place of TheToday Show, and Inside Edition. Weekend Sunrise Australia (filmed via satellite in San Francisco). Canada AM. The Rachael Ray Show (which airs this Thursday). AOL.com. Redbook magazine. Parenting.com. Something called farrahgray.com. Buzzfeed. Brigitte magazine in Germany. This fox affiliate. This ABC affiliate. This paper in Georgia. This paper in Iceland (oh how I wish I spoke Icelandic). This and this and this and this blog (actually not sure what that last one is). A multi page feature in a magazine as yet to be disclosed. Two phone interviews with Sirius. This radio station in Toledo (don’t tell them I don’t like country music). And apparently a mention on The Talk. And a bunch of other google results that I won’t bore you with because if you clicked on even a quarter of the previous mentions you are so so sick of my face.”

 

My mind is blown. Matt insists he isn’t surprised at all. He’s probably not lying.

 

The future holds good things for me, and for those who can relate. I will tell my story as long as people need to hear it. I thank you readers and friends for your love and support always.

 

“Happiness comes from within. Do not see it without.” The Buddha

 

oh and here I am with Rachael Ray. No big deal. (LOVED HER. ALL CAPS LOVED HER)

 

body image , OVERACHIEVERITIS , things that happened this week

Ok welcome to another edition of Wordy Whiny (and Weighty) Wednesday.

 

You may or may not remember this (depending on 1. how good your memory is and 2. if you give a damn at all) post about weight and fitness and blah blah blah (well you know not blah blah blah but close). So I’ve been doing those things I talked about. I’ve been drinking water and making sure I’m eating good (and ok I made cookies too, cause BALANCE PEOPLE, BALANCE) and I’ve been walking and cursing at doing Jillian when I can (or I should say when I prioritize it and frankly my knee is killing me soooo there’s that excuse) and the scale? Well it went up. OK that’s fine. Cause I ate pie so I asked for it. The first day of Jillian I almost DIED but by the fifth day I only felt a little like I was going to have a stroke. So that’s an improvement. BUT I’ve also been resting and crafting a little and tapping into my creative side. Oh and also I was taking care of supersickvomitingandpooping and now crabbywhinyteething baby but thankfully at least some of that has passed now. And I’ve been gardening and getting that going. Oh AND chasing the dog out of the garden so that’s exercise right? I’ve also been trying to tackle some small projects (well you know small in the grand scheme of things but not that small really) and starting new projects and checking off the list.

 

Today I decided to tackle my dresser.

 

Dun dun dun.

 

See yesterday I went to lunch with my lovely friend Staci and her super dee duper daughter Peyton and before I went I said to myself, “SELF, maybe you want to wear something besides yoga pants. Just sayin. You look like a hobo.” So I went to my dresser and found I could scarcely open it for the clothes that were SHOVED WILLY NILLY neatly folded inside. So I said to myself, after having NO success whatsoever, “Self. Add this to the list. Cause homie… this is ugly.”

 

So today at 6:15 am I dumped that whole damn thing out.

 

AND OHMYDEARLORD WHERETHEHELL DIDIGET ALLTHESECLOTHES?

It’s ugly friends and that’s just the dresser.

See I used to be skinny. Sorry to keep bringing that up but you know, it’s a valid point in the grand scheme of things since it was only like 2 years ago. (Come to think of it I may be reaching the end of the phase where I can still consider that recent. Well crap.)

Anyway.

When I was skinny (or more aptly when I was depressed) I bought a lot of clothes. I’m not particularly proud of this behavior but there it is. Some of them were, shall we say, rather pricey. OK SO WHAT if I have five pairs of Lucky Brand Jeans in size 6 and 8? They were different STYLES. :-/

 
Sigh. FIVE pair of pants I cannot, and most likely will not ever, wear. I thought I might try to sell these $100 per pair jeans on eBay but it turns out there isn’t much market for jeans that were $100 three years ago. So shit. And what did I find to wear…. Zip. Nada. Nil. Zero.

And where does this leave me you ask?

Well with an empty drawer and a frustrated brain. Of course.

Frustrated because A. I spent $100 on jeans I can’t wear (5 pair …so $500 really. Oh I feel sick.) B. And self loathing because I distinctly remember saying to myself when I lost all that weight “I’ll NEVEREVEREVEREVEREVER in a million zillion years weigh that much again.” Sigh. C. A little more self loathing because HELLO the way I got back to not fitting in my pants was by creating HUMAN LIFE. A sweet little bundle of precious joy who I absolutely cannot imagine my life without, so why am I beating myself up? (even if I could have skipped the cookies) D. And yet even more self loathing because I feel like I falsely advertised a 125 pound woman to my husband when what he ended up with was a 177 pound woman. (and yeah that’s really what I weigh so go ahead and process that number. I’m not trying to lie about it.) E. And even more self loathing for all the self loathing.

And since I’m not going to lie I’ll tell you this… when I finished cleaning out the dresser, and I had set aside the appropriate piles (one to donate, one to turn into wipes for the baby’s butt,  one for repurposing, one to save {that’s where the jeans I’ll never wear are just because I can’t sell them and dangit if I’m giving away $100 jeans}, one to give to my 15 year old {excuse me while I throw up} and one to give to Staci’s daughter) I sat down and had a good ol fashioned PMS induced tear fest. Partly for the aforementioned reasons and partly just cause I needed the emotional cleansing.

Then I talked to the Man and bent his ear for a half hour (hour?) and strangely felt even worse after that because in all love and kindness he essentially told me to get over my narcissistic self.

 

And he’s right.

 

And he said, “If you told me that you’re happy the way you are and this is the way you’re going to be for the rest of your life, I’d be perfectly happy with that because what I WANT IS FOR YOU TO BE HAPPY.”

 

And dammit he means it. And also… he’s right.

Why is it so hard for us to love ourselves? When life is beautiful and good. When we have healthy families and husbands we love. When we can walk and run and keep up with our kids. When we have healthy food and shelter. When we have essentially NOTHING to complain about. At. All.

Why do the size of the jeans in the drawer matter?

 

Does anyone out there want some $100 jeans?

 

 

body image , fitness , MEEEEEE , weight loss , wordy whiny wednesday

Sometimes I’m not funny. I apologize. If you struggle with weight or body image, please read on. If you don’t, please stop reading and email me immediately, I need to know your secret. If you’re just not interested come back tomorrow. We are going to talk about hair.

Anyway.

I used to blog over here. This is Blog to Lose, if you don’t know it, it’s a great site for weight loss support and I blogged almost daily there when I was losing weight a few years ago. I lost, in fact, 60 pounds over the course of about 7 months. (Reader’s Digest Version: I was depressed. I worked nights. I ate to stay awake. I got fat. I felt bad. I lost weight. The end. Well almost the end. Read on.) Anyway… not so much. I weigh about 10 pounds from the weight I was when I started that blog and my life isn’t the same.

For the better.
Confession: In those days of weight loss I obsessed over my weight to the point of weighing not just daily, but multiple times daily. I weighed before the shower. After I peed. With clothes on. With clothes off. I measured myself weekly (if not more). I obsessively stared at my stomach waiting for it to remarkably become tighter, have less stretch marks, look different, better (hello. I had been pregnant 4 times). I worked out 6 days a week. Two or more hours a day.
It was an ugly ugly time. I’m ashamed of that behavior.
But also, I recognize that many women I was cyberfriends with were doing the same thing. I can’t completely explain why but you go ahead and apply whatever psychological knowledge you have.
So now I blog for a different reason (because I’m not actively losing weight), but it’s no surprise that the thing that seems to get the most positive response (or any response) is posts about body image. I can’t tell you the number of emails I got after the Victoria’s Secret post (well I mean I could, but that is meant to suggest that I got a lot, which I did). I got email from anorexics, bulimics, food obsessed people and people who just plain ol’ hate their bodies. This isn’t necessarily something people like to publicly share, but I know you’re out there gals (and guys). So this one is for you…

Stop.

I know it’s not that easy. Oh believe me. I knooooow. But here’s the thing.

You are the way you look.

But the way you look is not *you*.

I know this doesn’t apply to everyone. I also know that skinny people have body image issues too. I used to be one.

See…


I’m on the left (the one on the right is my little sister. She’s 22, single and in grad school if anyone knows any nice guys). This was taken less than two years ago. I can give you a laundry list of things I don’t like about my body in that picture. (I’ll spare you, but use your imagination. If you’re a lady, you know the hot spots.)

Anyway now I’m not skinny.

See…


And I could still give you a laundry list of things I’d change. (I’d put on a swimsuit if I thought it would illustrate my point better but I don’t have one. Also I apologize for the poor quality of this photo. I had the 15 year old snap it quickly, because it’s rare to get a photo of me without a baby attached.)

So, why am I smiling? (Besides the fact that it’s sunny and beautiful outside and I did yoga.)

I should be crying my eyes out right? Because I used to look like that other girl? And now I don’t.

Well I refuse. I will not cry over my thighs. Or butt. Or stomach.

See we went to the beach this last weekend and I sat in the sand with our sweet little baby, watching my Big Kids play in the surf and I people watched.

Mostly I just kept seeing girls in bikinis and thinking to myself, “Welp self. Your body is just never going to look like that again. Ever.”

And I was just a little sad.

Ok I was a lot sad.

But just for a minute.

I’m going to be honest… I was trying really hard to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the smell of the salty water (both things I big puffy pink heart) but I was intermittently thinking horrible things. I was imagining how my husband must surely find me hideous and wondering how many women on the beach he was looking at thinking he wished I looked like them. (He wasn’t. Just to clarify. He’s not that guy.) I was thinking about how it’s only going to get worse because I’m only getting older, and saggier. I was thinking about having another baby and what that might do to my body. I was thinking I’d never ever wear a swimsuit again. Ever. Never.

Oy.

I wasn’t having a very good day emotionally speaking. I’m blaming PMS.

I was sad. Also PMS.

(Also I wanted a chocolate bar. Bad.)

Then I was sad that I was sad, and sad that I was sad that I was sad. Did you get all that? And I talked to the Man about it. Because that’s what I do. And he did like he does. He told me he loved me and that he wanted me to be healthy and happy and not worried about the scale. Or my stretch marks. Or my pants size. Or. Or. Or. He told me I am beautiful and he loves my body the way it is. Round. Shapely. Soft. Curvy. And I thought, why can’t I love myself this way too? Or any way I am? Oh this makes me mad at myself. Just mad. MAD. And so I consciously decide to I love myself. Yay. I’m smart. I’m beautiful. I’m a good person. Phew.

(Then something happens to make me critical (pick ANYthing) and thus begins the cycle again.)

But you see it’s not about being skinny or fat (or whatever), it’s just about loving who you are, how you are. However you are.

It’s gonna be ok.

I wish women would tell each other things like this.

You look how you are.

But you are not how you look.

beauty , body image , serious stuff , weight loss

There was a Victoria’s Secret catalog in the mail yesterday. Yet again.

I told the Man, “Man, I don’t want to turn into an angry feminist but I have a problem with the media right now.”

And the catalog went in the recycle bin. Again. I didn’t even take out the “free thong” coupon. Or the $10 off coupon. Or any other coupon. I don’t like Victoria’s Secret.

I know her secret.

It’s lighting and makeup. And photoshop. And Plastic surgery. And. And. And.

It’s not just because I can’t wear a Victoria’s Secret bra anymore (I can’t) that I don’t like her (or whoever Victoria is, presumably a man in an office in a big city somewhere). And it’s not just because I weigh *ahem* more than I weighed a year ago at this time ( 30 pounds if you must know. I own it. It’s all mine.). It’s because women are being set up to fail by being given an ideal that is unreachable, a standard of beauty that is created by media. And it’s because my 10 and 12 year old sons are being told that those women are beautiful. It’s because my 15 year old daughter is being told that she has to weigh 100 pounds, be 5’9″ and have huge breasts to be beautiful. It’s because my sweet little baby is growing up in a world where this is what women are supposed to look like?

A world where breasts are plastic and to create a waistline you have to jut your hip out (please reference photo above). Where photoshop is king. And women are supposed to be shaped like Barbie. Where beauty is made up skin deep.

When I said to the Man that I didn’t like Victoria’s Secret he said, “The Victoria’s Secret catalog is sickening.” He said some other stuff I won’t say here but you get the idea. Even he doesn’t like it.

Phew.

I want my kids to think this is beautiful:

Happy healthy strong smart sassy loving natural looking women. Seriously. How gorgeous are those ladies?

And this is beautiful:

A healthy round stretch-marked swayed back fully pregnant mama with a 10 pound 6 ounce baby about to be born. (I was in labor when this was taken if I look like I’m in pain.)

That birth is beautiful.

That breastfeeding is beautiful.

That gray hair, wrinkles, stretch marks are beautiful.

That youth is beautiful.

That age is beautiful.

That skinny, fat and everything in between is beautiful.

And normal? Well, normal is a setting on the washing machine. It’s subjective. Normal is what we all are. And normal is what you make it.

I challenge women everywhere today, throw the Victoria’s Secret catalog away (well recycle it anyway), toss out the Vanity Fair and Vogue, stop thinking about what you should look like and find something beautiful about how you do look. In fact, while you’re at it try to find it in something you think is a flaw. Stretchmarks? Did your body grow a baby? Wrinkles? Are they from laughing? Sagging breasts? Did they nourish a person? Wide hips? Did they carry a toddler on them? Do you have 10 pounds to lose? 30? 100? Or do you need to gain 10 pounds? 20? Or more? Can you love yourself NOW? Right now? Just the way you are made?

Beautifully and wonderfully.

body image